Category: Inspired Mind Written by David R. Hamilton PhD Hits: 947
I’ve written a lot about the “side effects” of kindness. There’s five of them: Kindness makes you happier, it’s good for the heart, it slows ageing, it improves relationships, and it’s contagious.
There’s talk sometimes where people say there is no truly altruistic act, that if you benefit from kindness then you’re being somewhat selfish and you’re therefore not doing it for the right reasons. It’s almost as if for a kindness to be pure, we have to suffer by doing it.
To be honest, I try not to get too weighed down with the academic debates about altruism. My opinion is that nature has built into us, that is, we have evolved, a system that encourages us to be kind for the right reasons, because being kind is the right thing to do.
I call it Nature’s Catch 22.
Here’s what I mean. The health-related side effects of kindness only occur because of how being kind makes you feel. That’s the key. It’s the warm feelings that come with kindness that release the kindness hormone, aka, the cuddle chemical, the hugging hormone, the love drug, or formally, oxytocin, a 9 amino acid-long hormone. It impacts not only brain circuits that make us feel connected, trusting, and happier, but it also acts on blood vessels to lower blood pressure and serves as a potent anti-oxidant too.
Therefore, you can only benefit from an act of kindness if you mean what you do. Why? Because you have to mean it to feel it! I’ll say that again. You have to mean it to feel it. And only by feeling it do you release oxytocin. To generate the kindness hormone and receive its benefits, your act of kindness must be real, honest, heartfelt.
It’s the feelings that generate the positive effects. Just as feelings of stress create negative effects in the body (and produce stress hormones), so feelings associated with kindness thus create positive effects.
So, a person trying to make themselves happier or improve their cardiovascular health by doing some half-hearted acts of kindness is futile. Of course, on one hand it still benefits the other person so that’s a good thing regardless, but there is no benefit to themselves because they didn’t mean what they were doing.
Perhaps I have side-stepped some of the altruism debate, but I believe that most of us are genuinely moved by the pain or suffering of others, and this makes our acts of kindness genuine.
I believe we have evolved to feel compassion, we have evolved to care, and as a result, we have evolved to be kind.
Nature’s Catch 22 has ensured it.
Our ancient ancestors who were kind for the right reasons derived more health benefits and were therefore more likely to survive and pass their genes onto the next generation.
So, we have evolved to mean it when we’re kind and to feel how it feels when we’re kind. And as a result, we receive the side effects of our kindnesses.
My new book, ‘The Little Book of Kindness’ (Gaia, Feb 2019) is due to be published on 7th Feb. I’m offering a FREE 4-lesson online course (on The Biology and Contagiousness of Kindness) to everyone who pre-orders the book before 7th Feb (pre-order quantities are used by booksellers to make decisions whether to stock a book or not). You can check out the free course HERE.
And you can pre-order the book from:
Amazon UK (Flexibound) Amazon UK (Kindle)
Amazon.com (Flexibound) Amazon.com (Kindle)
Amazon.ca (Flexibound) Amazon.ca (Kindle)
Amazon.com.au (Flexibound) Amazon.com.au (Kindle)
Barnes and Noble (Flexibound) Barnes and Noble (Nook)
David R. Hamilton PhD
After completing his PhD, David worked for 4 years in the pharmaceutical industry developing drugs for cardiovascular disease and cancer. During this time he also served as an athletics coach and manager of one of the UK’s largest athletics clubs, leading them to three successive UK finals. Upon leaving the pharmaceutical industry, David co-founded the international relief charity Spirit Aid Foundation and served as a director for 2 years.
Now a bestselling author of 6 books published by Hay House, he offers talks and workshops that fuse science, the mind, and spiritual wisdom. David writes a regular blog for the Huffington Post.
ॐ Namasté - Blessings!
© 2008-2019 crystalwind.ca. All rights reserved.
Archive: Inspired Mind
- 2019 (22)
- June (2)
- May (3)
- April (4)
- March (4)
- February (2)
- January (7)
- 2018 (92)
- December (5)
- November (4)
- October (8)
- September (9)
- • The 5 Best Pieces of Advice I’ve Received
- • Is There An End Game?
- • How Traveling Makes You A Better Person
- • 5 Things to Stop Doing Right Now
- • My Day Talking Kindness To Young Children
- • Celebrating Life through Love
- • 4 Habits That Add Stress to Your Life
- • Autumn Reflections
- • 6 Things to Remember When Hurting
- August (6)
- July (4)
- June (5)
- May (9)
- • 5 Misconceptions of Living a Conscious Life
- • Remembering Our Shared Humanity
- • Manifesting Your Dreams
- • Releasing Distractions and Finding Focus
- • How Forgiveness Sets the Prisoner Free
- • Having Love & Respect In Our Relationships
- • Stop Over-Depending on Others and Seeking Their Approval: How to Set Yourself Free
- • 4 Mind Games to Stop Playing for More Energy and Confidence
- • Spiritual and Energy Tools To Help With De-Addiction
- April (8)
- March (14)
- • The Best Path is Your Own
- • Hello, Friends! Do You Know Your Life Purpose?
- • Sleep Hypnosis for Mind, Body & Soul Cleansing
- • The Super Human, Super Consciousness Experience...
- • Reminders to Release Comparison and Competition
- • Sleep Hypnosis to Become Your Ideal Self
- • Earth Day Tips: Seven Ways to Save Energy, Planet, and Money
- • What It Means To Live In A Reality Of Necessary Distractions
- • What I Learned After Years of Going Against My Intuition
- • Reduce Anxiety: Sleep Hypnosis to Reduce & Reverse Anxiety
- • Calling All Trailblazers
- • A Powerful Practice for Healing & Forgiveness
- • Therapeutic Journaling: How to Use Journaling to Help Solve Life’s Biggest Challenges
- • Visualising Illness into Wellness
- February (10)
- • How I Transformed My Relationship with Fear
- • Creating A Successful, Future Version Of Yourself
- • Why Do We Have Resistance To Change
- • 7 Powerful Tips to Help You Become Fearless
- • Answer Your Heart’s Wake-up Calls With More Love And Less Fear
- • Lessons in Vulnerability
- • What I Wish I’d Known Before An Unexpected Loss
- • Day Dreamer
- • My Favorite Reminder to Help Relieve Anxiety
- • The Long Journey from Having, to Doing, to Being
- January (10)
- • 6 Things You Should Never Share With Other People
- • Remembering the Importance of Play
- • 22 Things That Have Become a Norm Since 2012
- • The 4 Benefits of Setting Healthy Boundaries
- • 6 Techniques to Stop Worrying
- • Working with Shame
- • Managing the Monkey Mind
- • New Beginnings with Love
- • Reconciling With The Divine Masculine In Us & Making Peace With Masculine Energies
- • By Doing What You Love, Success Will Follow
- 2016 (1)
- October (1)
- 2012 (1)
- August (1)
- 2011 (2)
- 2010 (1)
- 2009 (4)